A Christian baker who refused a bake a cake celebrating gay marriage has given an impassioned defence of his faith in court.
The Express reports that Daniel McArthur, general manager of Asher’s Bakery in Northern Ireland, told Belfast County Court that to put such a message on the cake would go against his deeply-held religious beliefs.
Giving evidence in the second day of a court hearing, he said: “The reason for the decision was that, as Christians, we could not put that message on a cake. Gay marriage is clearly in contradiction of the Bible.
“Our Christian faith is of utmost importance to us. It is how we run our lives, it is how we live our lives, it is how we bring up our families.
“Before God, this is something we couldn’t make.”
The bakery was taken to court by Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission after refusing to bake the cake for gay activist Gareth Lee. He had wanted the cake decorated with Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie arm-in-arm under the text “Support Gay Marriage.”
Lee, who is member of campaign group Queer Space, claimed the refusal led to him feeling like a “lesser person”. The cake was later made elsewhere.
Mr McArthur, 25, who runs the bakery with his parents, said his family did not seek legal advice before refusing to make the cake.
“We were not doing it in defiance of the law,” he said. “I think it is quite obvious that we do not know a lot of the ins and outs of the law. We knew the decision in our conscience as Christians was one that we had to make. That’s why I said to mum ‘regardless, as Christians we are bound by what we believe. This is what we are bound to do’.”
His mother, Karen McArthur, said that she initially took the order even though she knew that it could not be fulfilled because she “did not want to embarrass [Lee] or have a confrontation in the bakery.”
“The problem was with the message on the cake because, as a Christian, I do not support gay marriage,” she said.
Speaking for the McArthurs, barrister David Scoffield told the court that the bakery had not discriminated against Lee as a person and “neither knew nor cared about” his sexuality.
The hearing continues on Monday.